CNN Poll: Gender gap and likeability keep Obama over Romney
April 16th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN Poll: Gender gap and likeability keep Obama over Romney

(CNN) - President Barack Obama holds a nine-point lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney thanks in part to the perception that the president is more likeable and more in touch with the problems facing women and middle class Americans, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday also indicates a large gender gap that benefits Obama, but the public is divided on which candidate can best jump-start the economy.

Full poll (pdf)

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According to the poll, 52% of registered voters say if the presidential election were held today, they would vote for the president, with 43% saying they would cast a ballot for Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is making his second bid for the White House. The poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, a few days after former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania suspended his bid for the GOP nomination. Even though former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas continue their long-shot bids for the nomination, Romney is now generally considered the presumptive nominee.

The survey indicates women voters back Obama over Romney by 16 points (55%-39%), virtually unchanged from an 18-point advantage among women for the president in CNN polling last month.

The poll was conducted two days after Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Hilary Rosen created a controversy by saying that Ann Romney "never worked a day in her life."

"That remark may have little long-term effect on women voters," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "By a two-to-one margin, the women surveyed saw President Obama as more in touch with the problems facing American women today."

Half of those questioned say that Obama is more likely to stand up for what he believes, with only 29% saying that about Romney. Nearly half say that Romney is more likely to change his position on the issues for political reasons, just 39% saying the same thing about the president. Obama has double-digit leads over Romney on likeability, honesty, confidence, values, leadership and almost every other characteristic tested, with one important exception.

"Obama and Romney are essentially tied on who is more likely to get the economy moving again, and that may provide Romney an opening to chip away at Obama's current overall lead," says Holland.

According to the poll, Obama holds a 48%-43% margin over Romney among crucial independent voters. The survey also indicates s generation gap, with all age groups, except those 65 and older, backing Obama. And the poll points to an income divide, with the president holding a 20-point lead over Romney among those earning less than $50,000 per year, while those making more than that figure divided between the two candidates.

Obama's likeability and strong performance on personal characteristics helps explain why three-quarters of his supporters questioned say their vote will be a vote for Obama, not a vote against his opponent. By contrast, more than six in ten Romney supporters say their choice will be mostly be a vote against Obama.

"That's a significantly higher level of anti-incumbent voting than polls found in previous years. In 2004, for example, 55% of Democratic nominee John Kerry's supporters said their choice of Kerry was really a vote against President George W. Bush. The question for 2012 is whether Romney has to provide his supporters with more reasons to vote for him in order to win, or whether a negative anti-Obama message is enough, given that historically high level of anti-incumbent voting," adds Holland.

Two-thirds say they have made up their minds, with just 29% saying they could change their minds between now and November. As for handicapping the election, right now Americans don't think Romney has a good chance of winning the White House. Only 35% said Romney will be victorious in November.

"That is certainly not a prediction of what will happen, of course, but it is worth noting that in the last four presidential elections, the public was able to correctly pick the winner in polls taken in the spring or early summer," adds Holland.

Even though Santorum is out of the race for the White House and Romney is the all but certain nominee, the battle for the GOP nomination technically continues. According to the survey, 57% of Republicans say that Romney is their choice for the GOP nominee, with 19% backing Gingrich and 18% supporting Paul.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International April 13-15, with 1,015 adult Americans, including 910 registered voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Also see:

Obama re-election team increases fundraising haul

Buffett Rule would barely dent debt but fits nicely into Obama's theme

McCain: I agree with Ann Romney

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (743 Responses)
  1. BeverlyNC

    Romney has now proven, on the record, he is a liar who plans to destroy our most vital programs for the average American and plans to do everything to lower taxes on the rich, help corrupt corporations pay no taxes, abuse their workers, take away our rights as workers, women, and even our right to vote.
    Romney got caught telling what his plans are to a private party for wealthy (the 1%)... and there is nothing in his plans for the We the People.
    It's time to stand up for President Obama who stands up for ALL of us, fights for what is right and fair, has created jobs while Republicans obstructed every single piece of legislation for jobs, infrastructure, programs to help people, fund education, take away the ridiculous taxpayer money going to oil companies in subsidies ($6B), and bring back the middle class Republicans have all but destroyed.
    Romney is a liar, an arrogant elitist who could care less about the American People and groups like Hispanics, women, the poor, and has said so. No more of these Republicans destroying America for the most of us. Get out and vote all Republicans out of every local, state, and national office so sane leaders can take the oath to serve We the People seriously and actually get our economy finished to recovery. Republicans have no soul, no humanity are definitely not "Christians". They are more like the moneychangers in the Temple Jesus threw out for cheating the People and defiling the House of God. Enough of these lying traitor hypocrites.

    April 16, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  2. Jack

    CNN, you lying piece of .... Obama perceived as being in touched with the middle class. Mitt maybe rich but he knows middle class. Obama knows how to lie and deceive. I take it he will have a job at CNN as soon as he is ousted as dictator of the US Socialist Party of going to Hell in a Hand Basket.

    April 16, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  3. KcD

    Just posted by the L.A. Times as to why the difference in poll results. Quit cryin' partizombies. The polls were taken in different time frames.

    "The CNN/ORC International poll was conducted between Friday and Sunday, in the wake of both Rick Santorum’s exit from the race and Rosen’s contentious remarks over Ann Romney’s employment history. The 1,015 adult respondents contained 910 registered voters, and the poll’s sampling error is plus or minus 3 points.

    Gallup’s poll was conducted April 11-15 among 2,265 registered voters, with an identical sampling error. Those time differences, along with the size of the pool polled and the higher ratio of registered voters in the Gallup sample could account for the discrepancy between the two results."

    April 16, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  4. LDS Underwear

    Wait until he picks 'Portapottie" for Veep and Biden gets him in a debate.

    April 16, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  5. Jordan

    So, now that this poll has been up for a few hours, it is no longer BREAKING NEWS? Was it considered BREAKING NEWS because CNN did a poll or that it confirmed how super-duper awesome President Obama is?

    April 16, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  6. Mary

    What do you expect from the Colored News Network.

    April 16, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. Jim

    Romney has flip flopped on every single issue.

    Romney should be running against himself.

    April 16, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  8. souptwins

    I found it interesting that Gallup has Romney ahead by 2 points with more than double the sample size and a higher portion of registered voters being questioned. That doesn't bode well for Obama. Perhaps CNN is yet again, trying to turn the tide in Obama's favor using less reliable measures. Who'da thunk CNN would do such a thing?

    April 16, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |

    I predict it will be Obama by a landslide! And thank heavens for that!

    April 16, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Bye Bue odummo

    April 16, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  11. Reddog9500

    I wonder what Obama's lead is over Gingrich. AhhhhHaaa....Haaaaaa....Haaaaaaaaaa........Haaaaaaaaaa........(Oh God, I can't stop!)........Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Haaaaaaaaaaaaaa Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!

    April 16, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  12. Joe from Ohio

    I knew something smelled funny when Fox news reported last week that Romney had a lead in the latest poll.**

    **Fox conducted the poll.

    April 16, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  13. Bob

    I'm sure the F News would have no spin. CNN has slants in either direction they think is newsworthy...MSNBC slants left, and Fnews just makes it up as they go. If people would take a sample of each, they my come out with a knowledgeable view of some truths. Some only want news that sings to the choir.

    April 16, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  14. Obama

    This is a cute poll. Why don't full results tell us republican vs democrats polled? HahahA

    April 16, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  15. Frank

    Haters? Just because other's have a different opinion DOES NOT! make them haters. We need to get Obama out of office this November! Let's not be Fooled again! Obama never should have been elected in the first place.

    April 16, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  16. Nick

    Get out and vote people. The polls mean zilch if people don't get out and vote.

    April 16, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  17. KennyG

    Obamaa is in touch with anything that will win him the vote. He does not represent middle America at all. His 'values' are suspect and leadership ability is non existant.

    April 16, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  18. Dave

    I'd hardly call your poll breaking news. News, yes...but not breaking news. If it's really breaking news than you should report the Gallop Poll out today with the lead reversed by 6. The PDF is difficult to read. Of the total sample, how many were Democrats, how many were Republicans, and how many were Independents?

    April 16, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. jj

    If Barack Obama is the best leader this country can come up with, then I weep for America!

    April 16, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  20. hank

    Great news. The President is more qualified that Romney.

    April 16, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  21. rightwingwac

    Real Clear Politics has him up by three in their average of all major polls. I think that may be a more accurate measuring stick than a CNN poll. Dinosaur-The CNN web site is one of the most misleading headline sites out there. The commentators on TV and the news anchors lean to the left but their web site has ridiculously slanted headlines, it's Time Warner for God's sake. That's an unarguable truth and if you watched and read a bigger variety of available news sources you would understand that FACT.

    April 16, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  22. Ed

    Being "in touch" with a problem means nothing if you can't solve the problems. Obama has not proven he is a leader or can solve problems. A lot of talk and poor results is about as out of touch as you can get and that has been Obama from day one..

    April 16, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  23. mike

    And who was in this survey? Drug addled residents of inner city Chicago? NO OTHER POLL has anything like your pathetic results. Tell us, why are you still shilling for the mass murderer, international war criminal, assassin, that god willing, will go straight from his office to an international court, where he will be tried for the cold blooded murder of thousands of innocent civilian's in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and (likely) Iran.Obama is a monster, on par with Hitler, and his supporters are the equivalent of the SS. That would include CNN's "blatherers" and assorted talking heads. Note to the editor – it isn't polite nor acceptable to campaign for a mass murderer.

    April 16, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  24. Bill Mitchell

    I'm sorry but this poll is just laughable. How can I say that? Because they don't tell us the party affiliation of the sample. The last ABCNews Poll gave Democrats an 11 point advantage over Republicans. Based upon the internals of this crazy poll, I am guessing CNN gave Democrats a 15 point advantage in the sample.

    a complete joke.

    P.S.: Gallup and Rasmussen both Have Romney +2. Sorry libs, this poll ain't real.

    April 16, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  25. BrentAZ

    Interesting. I went through the entire poll information and there was no data on how the sample was broken down demographically. What was the number of Dems vs. Repubs. Funny that the polls that show Romney in the lead actually publish this information while polls like CNN do not.

    April 16, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
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